The DC Young African ProfessionalsSME Pitch Workshop at Impact Hub DC brought together teams of young African startups to network, practice their elevator pitches, and get pro-tips from some of the diaspora’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors. As part of IdEA Global Diaspora Week, event co-sponsors the U.S.-Africa Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the need for investors to focus on small and medium-sized businesses to help them grow and expand into new markets.

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So before you take that next meeting, here are 5 things you should know…
  1. Be confident
    If you want investors to believe in your business, you need to first believe in yourself and your team.
  2. Know the problem, don’t just have a ‘solution’
    Investors want to know you understand your market and that you’re solving a problem customers are facing, not just inventing a solution to a problem that may not exist.
  3. Tell a ‘good story’
    Your pitch should not just be about projected revenue or your customer base. It needs to connect with investors on a level that helps them understand why your business and your team is one they should support.
  4. Prototype your product
    Having a working prototype you can demonstrate can go a long way toward convincing investors of the potential of your business – just be sure not to over-promise on what your team can deliver.
  5. Develop strong relationships
    Get out and meet with customers, understand their needs. Build a network of entrepreneurs and mentors who will help you through the challenges you’ll face as you grow your business from a local startup to global leader.